The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a great article about tallgrass prairie, prairie conservation, and the Flint Hills of Oklahoma and Kansas:
"I could have been in Africa. Before me the tawny savanna stretched unimpeded to a horizon where it met a vast ceiling of blue. The soft folds of land were stippled with grazing wildlife: enormous wildebeest-like creatures munching peacefully on the ochre carpet of grasses. This was Oklahoma, though the vistas that I surveyed were as beautiful, once as widespread and every bit as endangered as the grasslands thousands of miles away.
I had come to Oklahoma to revisit the tallgrass prairie that, as little as 100 years ago, covered 142 million acres of the country’s heart in a great swath that ran from Manitoba to the Gulf of Mexico. Today, less than 10 percent of the original tallgrass prairie remains, most of it given over to farming. The few enduring unbroken stretches lie in areas too difficult to cultivate: in the appropriately named Flint Hills of Oklahoma and Kansas."
Read the full article, Into the Bluestem Sea by Linda Watanabe McFerrin, on the San Francisco Chronicle’s web page.